My Next Big Thing

Recently, I was invited by Vinnie Hansen, author of the Carol Sabala mystery series, to participate with other writers in posting about their “next big thing” that they are working on as a writer. Vinnie is currently working on her seventh murder mystery in her series. The story takes place in Cuba where Carol Sabala is hired to locate a wealthy woman’s daughter. You can find out more about Ms. Hansen’s series and the upcoming mystery on Vinnie’s website by going to her page and then clicking on her Next Big Thing announcement link.

I have written earlier about Finishing Line Press accepting my chapbook manuscript, Saudade, for publication. The chapbook will be coming out in May, 2013, and pre-publication sales for the chapbook open in January. I will be sending more details about how to do this in January. For now, let me tell you a bit more about the book.

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What is the working title of your book?
Saudade. The word is Portuguese and means longing or sense of emptiness for something no longer present in your life but that you still love and feel the absence of.

Where did the idea come from for this book?
The idea came from living abroad, the travel while living in other countries, and the desire to explore and possibly answer the questions that living in foreign cultures inevitably makes a person wonder about regarding the meaning of the things we say and experience, and about what is that is ultimately important in life.

What genre does your book fall under?
Free-verse poetry.

How long did it take to write the first draft?
The poems in the chapbook are from a wide spectrum of time reaching from about 12 years ago until the present time.

What actors would you use for a movie rendition of your book?
Since Saudade is not a work of fiction, the actors would have to be those found naturally in the locations of the poems, which includes the orangutan of the Borneo rainforest, camels wandering the Saudi Arabian desert, Delhi’s citizens, the Alhambra’s architects and artists, the fado singer and musicians at the Santa Cruz Café, Coimbra, Portugal, and a cast of others.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
If you look deeply enough even at those things that are difficult and painful, hope and beauty can be found.

Will it be self published or represented by an agency?
Finishing Line Press will be publishing the chapbook. Saudade will be available for pre-publication sale from January through April from Finishing Line Press, will come out in May, 2013, and will later also be available on Amazon.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The amazing perplexities and wonders of life, and the desire to understand how various cultures, worlds, experiences and places interconnect.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Saudade might compare with Carolyn Boyd’s DNA of Sand, or perhaps Michael L. Newell’s books, A Stranger to the Land, or Traveling Without Compass or Map, and possibly a few of Naomi Shihab Nye’s poems in that the settings of the poems are in a variety of world locations while appealing to themes that people everywhere experience of love, loss, hope, work, and longing to be whole.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Music in a variety of forms—from jazz, to classical to Indian raga features in these poems.

Erica Lann-Clark is another author continuing this Next Big Thing thread where writers tell you about their upcoming work. Find out about Erica’s upcoming projects!  A professional storyteller, Erica’s lively piece, Shopping for God humorously explores the search for meaning in contemporary life. Learn more about Erica and her work, and check out Erica’s web page for her next big thing.


Saudade, A New Poetry Chapbook

I recently received a letter from Finishing Line Press that my chapbook manuscript, Saudade, was one of the top 20 semi-finalist in the New Women’s Voices 2012 chapbook contest. Finishing Line Press has asked to publish my work in their 2013 Finishing Line Press chapbook releases. I accepted the offer, and Friday I sent off the signed contract. This is a new step for me as a writer, and it will take me in new directions. Having a chapbook will encourage me to share my work in a more public manner, and I will have the opportunity to see how others respond to it. I feel appreciative of the many people through the years who have read my work via e-mail and who have encouraged me to keep going.

Saudade, the title of the chapbook is a Portuguese word with a wonderful definition for which we don’t have an equivalent in English. Wikipedia explains that ” Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one’s children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence.”

This thread of longing weaves through the book. From running through Borneo’s rainforest in order to see an orangutan to observing camels from a cliff in Saudi Arabia, to listening to fado music in Portugal, Saudade’s 19 poems emerge out of my experience as an expatriate living and traveling abroad, but they are also more than travel pieces. They explore the themes of loss, hope, the meaning of home, and how to live within the borders of our own limitations and unfinished possibilities.

Hopefully, there are a number of you out there who will want to read the book! When I get details about dates for pre-publication sales from the publisher, I will announce it here and then you can help me spread the word to others.

Currently, I am working on a series of poems about immigrants from southern Italy to San Francisco, and am thoroughly enjoying all the many things I am learning about Italy, about immigrants, San Francisco, and about the time period! Among other things, I’ve come across fascinating historical clips of Calabrians dancing the tarantella, found some fantastic Calabrian recipies from Rosetta, born in Calabria but who now lives in San Francisco. Writing is a wonderful way to continuously open yourself to a deeper understanding of the world.